After my recent visit to the Gerogian at Harrods for a spot of afternoon tea (blogpost here), I have slowly become obsessed with the notion of afternoon tea. So when Aanchal told me she was visiting London, the first thing I did was ring up the Savoy and book us in for a spot of tea and sandwiches in their absolutely gorgeous Thames Foyer. I wanted to make sure she had a chance to experience a quintessentially English experience and it doesn’t get more English than afternoon tea at the Savoy!
I absolutely love the Savoy and have some really fond memories here. The rooms are absolutely stunning and it’s also home to some of London’s best known restaurants and bars including Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and my personal favourite; the Beaufort Bar. I always walk past the stunning Thames Foyer en-route to the other restaurants but have never actually eaten in there so was quite excited about our visit.
The recently refurbished Thames Foyer is very much the heart of the Savoy. Complete with a stunning glass dome with an oversized garden gazebo beneath it, it’s hard not to be impressed by the fabulous surroundings. Add to that the pianist serenading you with some stunning tunes, and you are in heaven! She even played ‘Let It Go’ from the popular Disney movie Frozen which gets my approval any day!
We went for the ‘Traditional Afternoon Tea ‘(£50) which comes with a selection of finger sandwiches, tea pastries, freshly baked scones, cakes and tea ofcourse. You also have the option to go for the ‘Traditional High Tea’ (£52.50) which is great if you don’t have a sweet tooth and comes with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast along with crumpets instead of the scones and pastries.
The tea was actually great – it’s something that surprisingly doesn’t get a lot of attention. The Savoy is a member of the Tea Guild and has received the Award of Excellence multiple times and you can see why with your very first sip. The tea menu here is extensive but the staff here are more than happy to run you through the various options available. We tried about six different varieties between us but my favourites were the Lychee Red and the Oolong Tea. The Lychee Red was sweet and soft on the palette with hints of lychee finishing it off wonderfully. The Oolong which is apparently famed for being one of the Queen’s favourite teas had hints of honey and had a delicate sherbet like sweetness to it. I would highly recommend both if you want to try something other than your standard Earl Grey.
Afternoon tea at the Savoy is a very traditional affair and one look at the platter confirms that. The three tiered silver platter looks great and the staff made sure we never ran out of food. Topping it up multiple times during our time there, they made sure we left without being able to eat again that day!
The finger sandwiches really surprised me. I was expecting classics like roast beef but the fillings were quite different and not in a bad way. We had options like cucumber with fleur de marquis and dried tomato, Wiltshire bone ham with wholegrain mustard cream cheese, Scottish smoked and poached salmon with dill mustard but my favourite had to be the Coronation chicken on olive bread. The Coronation chicken filling was great but what really stunned me was the olive bread – it was absolutely great.
The scones were great too. If I was being picky, I would have wanted our waiter to bring it out, nice and warm when we were ready to enjoy them like they do at the Georgian at Harrods but I didn’t mind to be honest. Served up with Cornish clotted cream, homemade lemon curd and strawberry preserve, they were spot on.
This was Aanchal’s first time trying out scones and she absolutely loved it. Obviously Seb and I argued about what goes first – the cream or the preserves? I still think it’s cream first but I know lots of people (including Seb) disagree.
What impressed me the most about afternoon tea at the Savoy was the selection of afternoon tea pastries created by executive pastry chef, Ludwig Hely. Our waiter brought out a selection for us to choose from and I just couldn’t pick one – they all looked great. Options included milk chocolate and passion fruit éclair, pineapple and coconut slice, and fruits of the forest and dark chocolate sablé. I just had to try all of them – the things I do for this blog! 🙂
My favourite pastry out of the selection was the beautiful lime and orange number – it was light, fresh and melted in your mouth; literally! It wasn’t overly sweet either like a lot of other pastries which made it a winner for me. You could pick one of everything (like I did) but if you did want to pick just one, I would highly recommend this one.
The afternoon tea experience at the Savoy finishes with a selection of Thames Foyer signature cakes. I wasn’t the biggest fan if I am being honest. I found my slice of walnut cake a little too dry for my liking and had to leave most of it. We did have quite a large meal and I don’t think I could fit any more even if I tried which obviously didn’t help either.
A lot of people expect the staff at the Savoy to be stuck up but they really aren’t. Our waiter made us feel so comfortable and was more than happy to help. When we asked for tea recommendations, he took the time to make sure we picked one that suited our individual tastes. The manager very politely asked us if were happy with the service at the end of the meal – it’s small touches like that which make the Savoy an institution. The faultless service really is second to none.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the whole afternoon tea experience, I would highly recommend trying out the Thames Foyer at the Savoy. Ofcourse the tea, sandwiches and scones are great but it’s the faultless service, the stunning surroundings and the fact you’re in such a great London institution that makes it special. Aanchal’s first afternoon tea experience couldn’t have been better. We left with a smile on our face.
How do you have your scones? Cream or preserves first? Leave a comment and let me know.